A Zine for Feminists Created by Trista Bowser, MA Fashion Journalism & Editorial Direction Alumna

Having graduated in 2023 for the MA Fashion Journalism & Editorial Direction course, Trista Bowser reflects on why she chose the course and how she created a zine called FORWARD for feminists. 

Trista Bowser was coming to the end of two simultaneous Bachelor’s degrees at university in the United States, trying to figure out her next move when she took a look at the Condé Nast website, and saw information about the College.  When she realised there was a Master’s Degree in Fashion Journalism and Editorial Direction, she knew at once it was the course for her.

“Lots of places offer courses on fashion and on journalism but to see one that combined the two was a revelation, and of course the Condé Nast name made it all the more impressive,” she says.

Final MA Fashion Journalism & Editorial Direction project

For her final project on the Masters in Fashion Journalism, Trista created a zine called, FORWARD.  It had begun life as a college project for her first degree, but only in skeleton form as an exercise in understanding layout and cover design.  For her Master’s, Trista decided to go the distance, eventually crafting a full fifty-six pages with entirely original content, editorial and visual, putting her editing skills to the test. 

A lady draped in red chiffon standing on a rock by the sea.
Photo by Hanna Bailey via FORWARD


FORWARD is a feminist platform, with a strong, dynamic, inclusive tone.  It is empowered and empowering.  The aim is for it to be read by anyone who identifies as a feminist, regardless of age, class or economic background, with articles that will resonate for all of those people.  Having said that, the primary audience is American women from fifteen to twenty-five.  We want to interest them in pieces on discrimination in all its forms, feminism within popular culture and a sprinkling of fashion advice to help readers feel more confident.  There’s plenty of light and shade, so hopefully something for everyone.”

Standing up to aggression

Trista says that research she undertook for her course showed that many zines, especially in the United States, limit their online presence, because of a perceived need to maintain a safe space for readers and writers alike, away from online abuse and attacks.  She says, “The far-right have been so emboldened in recent years and can be very aggressive when it comes to expressing the kinds of opinions FORWARD embodies.  I thought it was important to be that presence.”

Photo by Elinor Sheridan via FORWARD

Trista’s first aim is to build the kind of community that can sustain FORWARD into the future, so she’s currently not looking at how to make a profit from it, more for ways to get the word out there and form those alliances that will develop a loyal readership.  With that in mind she plans to visit a number of zine festivals to make new connections.

Student dream to concrete reality

Trista believes FORWARD might never have grown from a basic student project had it not been for her chance discovery of the College.  Asked to sum up her time here in one word, she chooses the word, “exciting.”

“It really was so exciting,” she says.  “There’s so much to do and learn here, and the staff are so knowledgeable and committed.  You meet some wonderful people among the other students who share your passion and really understand what you’re trying to do, because they want it too.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if it’s your passion too.”

FORWARD can be seen online at https://FORWARDthemag.com/